×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ganis pleased by prospects for Wuxi

Chinese digital facility preps for October bow

In China there are regular announcements of studio lots and cinema theme parks backed by ample film funds from local government agencies. Many founder on regulatory high jinks, investor cold feet or sheer hubris.

The gleaming new 10 billion yuan ($1.57 billion) Wuxi Studio, backed by the State Administration of Radio Film and Television and the Jiangsu provincial government, is not of that ilk.

On the day that Variety visited the facility, which stakes a claim as the mainland’s first center specializing in digital movies, 3D production equipment was being moved in as it prepped for its October opening.

Based in the city of Wuxi, 85 miles west of Shanghai, the studio is set to play a big part in cementing China’s growing ties with Hollywood.

Built in a revamped former steel mill on 23 acres of land, there are six soundstages (the largest will be 64,560 square feet), production offices and a retail andnightclub mall similar to Universal Citywalk that looks very close to completion.

Construction on the second phase has also bowed, with a target end date of summer 2013. This will include a water tank, additional office space and a vast backlot for filming that will also serve as a Universal Studios-style tour. The Chinese government inked Hollywood’s Raleigh Studios to manage the massive Wuxi project, underlining its serious intent. Raleigh also had a hand in its development. It should help assuage U.S. anxieties about dealing with unknown quantities in China.

Rebecca Wu, senior project manager at Wuxi Studio, said that studio execs would be on hand to help with any difficulties of dealing with the biz in China. She was leading a group of local dignitaries through the studio on the day Variety made its unannounced visit.

And who better to soothe foreign fears than former Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences prexy Sid Ganis, whom Wuxi appointed as an adviser and honorary chairman. He told Variety, “I believe the studio is going to be exactly as billed — a major digital film production and post-production site in China. “Wuxi happens to be a very lovely city. I’ve visited it four times, and it’s a comfortable place. As a Western filmmaker, as an American filmmaker who is interested in China, all will find enough to keep them happy right at their fingertips.”

He said the local government is helpful when it comes to issuing permits, and the nearby Sunan Shuofang Intl. Airport is a great bonus.

Productions shooting at Wuxi will be able to apply for financing from the Wuxi Film and Television Fund, which is already capitalized to the tune of $157 million. Wuxi Jinyu Investment Management has inked deals with third parties for another $173 million and is negotiating with production and investment companies in the U.S. and U.K. for matching funds in foreign currency.

Wuxi has already invested in a number of movies including the Japan-China co-production “Sweetheart Chocolate,” featuring Hiroyuki Ikeuchi and Taiwanese thesp Chi-ling Lin and directed by Junichi Mori, and the thriller “Singular Cry,” to be directed by Hong Kong’s Jade Hsu.

The Huayi Brothers-produced “Tai Chi,” as well as toons “The Wise and Brave Sturgeon King,” and “Lele’s Summer Adventure,” have all been received permits from the Film Bureau of SARFT and are in pre-production.

More Film

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content